Wisdom from our Founder

Bill May on EWTNWilliam B. (“Bill”) May is the founder and former president of Catholics for the Common Good. Although Bill has passed away, his works continue to provide the framework for our engagement with the culture. The following excerpts are from his first book, Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue (Also available in Spanish at stpaulcenter.com).

Seeing and Communicating Truth

What became clear to us was that in our relativistic culture where most of us tend to make decisions based on our own point of view (i.e., “what is true for you may not be true for me”), we are tempted to reject objective truth or Catholic teaching as unreasonable if it does not conform to our experience. However, the more deeply we understand Catholic social teaching and become able to apply and communicate its principles in non-religious language, to the great surprise of many, it becomes stunningly reasonable, even to non-believers. The challenge is in its communication. (Getting the Marriage Conversation Right, p. 4)

Through the Eyes of a Child

When we look at marriage through the eyes of the child, we become like a child (Matt. 18:3) and we begin to see the reality of what marriage is. Putting ourselves in the place of the child, marriage is no longer an abstraction, it is a reality. … The reality of marriage in God’s plan for creation becomes apparent to all, but is not dependent on belief in God. It is a fact stamped right into our very nature. (Getting the Marriage Conversation Right, pp. 5-6)

It’s not About the Adults

The great lie of “no-fault divorce” is, “If the adults are happy, the children will be happy.” Increasingly, people have come to think of marriage as a means of pursuing individual happiness. However, marriage is much more than an institution for adult fulfillment. Although attitudes have changed, the reality of marriage has not. Marriage between a man and a woman is still the only institution that unites kids with their moms and dads. (Getting the Marriage Conversation Right, p. 14)

From Kari Jo Curtin, director:

I discovered this wonderful book in 2014. William B. May, writing in 2012, told us that we needed to use specific language to advocate for the Fundamental Human Right of Children to grow up with their mom and dad, united in marriage. We had become adult-centric in our view of marriage, and this book describes what would happen if we didn’t change that. And it has all happened. This website is its fruit.

Get the book here. You can also “join” the movement.

In 2014, Bishop Conley in Lincoln, Nebraska told me this short, informative book was the most important book on marriage for our time. (Not the most comprehensive, but so very important.) He got enough copies to put it into the hands of every priest in the state of Nebraska! The Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in Houston got 250+ copies to give out to parishioners and priests in 2014. Terry Barber in California got 1,000 copies in 2014 as well!

The author and founder of this movement, William B. May, (Bill) passed away suddenly in May 2019. The truth of his book and what changing our language, speaking truth through the eyes of the child (AND avoiding language that can thwart our success) can do is still pertinent today, and I think still very possible.

I was handed the directorship of the movement a few months before Bill’s death. It is taking me a while to move forward, with all the difficulties we have faced in the culture (et. al.) these months, as well as learning as much as I could about the mission.

The website is full of insight, especially if you have read the book. I have found someone who will help me update the website now. I greatly appreciate the support of the St. Paul Center, carrying this book. Come join us through the website! And tell others!